Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Solar Dynamics Observatory goes live today! (and a hike to Seven Falls)

At 11:15 AM local time, NASA posted the first images and movies from the new Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO).  One of the most remarkable things about SDO is that it will be imaging the sun in multiple wavelengths every 10 seconds.  While the above 3 minute movie explains the mission, go to the SDO website to see all the first light images and videos.  The video below is just one of the stunning movies released today!

Personally, today marks the 5 year anniversary of the passing of my sister-in-law, Laura, for whom the Lost Pleiad Observatory is named.  You can read the story of the building and naming of the observatory here.  Beth and Ian and I are taking the day to go out for a hike to see some wildflowers and remember our sister, aunt, and best friend.

Addendum:  We are now back from our hike to Seven Falls and I thought that I would share some of the pictures.  No sooner had we made our way across the creek, than we were greeted by one of the trail ambassadors.  Here are a couple pictures that show both the full size and business end of our friend...and trust me, he did not need to use words to convey his message of keeping a watchful eye out...

It is always nice to see such mature and healthy wildlife in the canyon, and this 4 foot Diamondback was truly a great start to our trip.  Lots of wildflowers line the trail right now, and below are some shots of the flowers.

While Ian and I were wandering along the creek just below the falls, we spotted a small frog, which Ian decided to pick up.  After a few seconds, our little friend the frog jumped right onto Ian's chest where he seemed quite content to hang out.  These pictures show the frog on Ian, as well as camouflaged on the rock.

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